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Notice of Privacy Practice

RHA (RiverView Healthcare Association) does business under the following names: RiverView Hospital, RiverView Care Center, RiverView Home Care, RiverView Clinic and RiverView Recovery Center.

This Notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information. Please review it carefully.

Understanding your health record/information

Each time you visit a hospital, physician or other healthcare provider, a record of your visit is made. Typically, this record contains your symptoms, examination and test results, diagnoses, treatment, and a plan for future care or treatment. This information, often referred to as your health or medical record, serves as a:

  • basis for planning your care and treatment.
  • means of communication among the many health professionals who contribute to your care.
  • legal document describing the care you received.
  • means by which you or a third-party payer can verify that services billed were actually provided.
  • a tool in educating health professionals.
  • a source of data for medical research.
  • a source of information for public health officials charged with improving the health of the nation.
  • a source of data for facility planning and marketing.
  • a tool with which we can assess and continually work to improve the care we render and the outcomes we achieve.

Understanding what is in your record and how your health information is used helps you to:

  • ensure its accuracy.
  • better understand who, what, when, where and why others may access your health information.
  • make more informed decisions when authorizing disclosure to others.

Your health information rights

Although your health record is the physical property of the healthcare practitioner or RHA, the information belongs to you. You have the right to:

  • obtain a paper copy of the Notice of Privacy Practices upon your request, even if you have previously agreed to receive this Notice electronically.
  • inspect and obtain a copy of your health record, including in electronic format if the information is stored electronically.
  • amend your health record.
  • obtain an accounting of disclosures of your health information.
  • request communications of your health information by alternative means or at alternative locations.
  • revoke your authorization to use or disclose health information except to the extent that action has already been taken.
  • request a restriction on how we use or disclose your information for healthcare treatment, payment and operations, or to individuals involved in your care. Such uses and disclosures do not typically require your permission because RHA may need to use or disclose the information in order to provide services to you. RHA is only required to agree to a requested restriction if the disclosure is for payment or healthcare operations and the information pertains solely to any item or service that you (or another person on your behalf, other than a health plan) paid for out of pocket, in full.

Our responsibilities

RHA is required to:

  • maintain the privacy of your health information.
  • provide you with a notice as to our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to information we collect and maintain about you.
  • abide by the terms of this notice.
  • notify you if we are unable to agree to a requested restriction.
  • accommodate reasonable requests you may have to communicate health information by alternative means or at alternative locations.
  • notify you if there has been a breach involving your unsecured health information.

We reserve the right to change our practices and to make the new provisions effective for all protected health information we maintain. Should our information practices change, you will be notified at the time of your next visit.

We will not use or disclose your health information without your authorization, except as described in this notice.

For more information or to report a problem

If you have questions and would like additional information, you may contact the Privacy Officer/Medical Records Director, Janet Anderson, 218.281.9418, at RiverView Health.

If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you can file a complaint with the Privacy Officer/Medical Records Director or with the Secretary of Health and Human Services. There will be no retaliation for filing a complaint.

Examples of disclosures for treatment, payment and health operations

We will use your health information for treatment. For example: Information obtained by a nurse, physician or other member of your healthcare team will be recorded in your record and used to determine the course of treatment that should work best for you. Your physician will document in your record his/her expectations of the members of your healthcare team. Members of your healthcare team will then record the actions they took and their observations. In that way the physician will know how you are responding to treatment.

We will also provide your physician or a subsequent healthcare provider with copies of various reports that should assist him/her in treating you.

We will use your health information for payment. For example: A bill may be sent to you or a third-party payer. The information on or accompanying the bill may include information that identifies you, as well as your diagnosis, procedures and supplies used.

We will use your health information for regular health operations. For example: Members of the medical staff, the risk or quality improvement manager, or members of the quality improvement team may use information in your health record to assess the care and outcomes in your case and others like it. This information will then be used in an effort to continually improve the quality and effectiveness of the healthcare and service we provide.

Uses and disclosures of protected health information based upon your written authorization

Other uses and disclosures of your protected health information will be made only with your written authorization, unless otherwise permitted or required by law as described below. Most uses and disclosures of psychotherapy notes, uses and disclosures for marketing purposes, and disclosures that constitute the sale of protected health information require your authorization. You may revoke this authorization, at any time, in writing, except to the extent that your physician or the physician's practice has taken an action in reliance on the use or disclosure indicated in the authorization.

Other permitted and required uses and disclosures that may be made with your consent, authorization or opportunity to object

We may use and disclose your protected health information in the following instances. You have the opportunity to agree or object to the use or disclosure of all or part of your protected health information. If you are not present or able to agree or object to the use or disclosure of the protected health information, then your physician may, using professional judgment, determine whether the disclosure is in your best interest. In this case, only the protected health information that is relevant to your healthcare will be disclosed.

Directory: Unless you notify us that you object, we will use your name, location in the facility, general condition, and religious affiliation for directory purposes. This information may be provided to members of the clergy. This Directory information, except for religious affiliation, may be provided to other people who ask for you by name.

Notification: We may use or disclose information to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative or another person responsible for your care, your location and general condition

Communication with family: Health professionals, using their best judgment, may disclose to a family member, other relative, close personal friend or any other person you identify, health information relevant to the person’s involvement in your care or payment related to your care.

Emergencies: We may use or disclose your protected health information in an emergency treatment situation. If this happens, your physician shall try to obtain your consent as soon as reasonably practicable after the delivery of treatment. If your physician or another physician in the practice is required by law to treat you and the physician has attempted to obtain your consent but is unable to obtain your consent, he or she may still use or disclose your protected health information to treat you.

Communication barriers: We may use and disclose your protected health information if your physician or another physician in the practice attempts to obtain consent from you but is unable to do so due to substantial communication barriers and the physician determines, using professional judgment, that you intend to consent to use or disclosure under the circumstances.

Psychotherapy notes: In addition to your standard health information, we may separately maintain certain written, electronic, video and audio notes documenting or analyzing your private, group or joint counseling sessions (your "Psychotherapy Notes"). Uses and disclosures of your Psychotherapy Notes will be made only with your separate written authorization, except for the following: internal treatment uses, certain limited internal training, compliance and oversight uses and disclosures; uses and disclosures relating to RHA's own legal defense against you or your decedents; limited disclosures to a coroner or medical examiner; or uses and disclosures necessary to avert a serious threat to health or safety of a person or the public.]

Marketing: We may use and disclose your information for marketing only with your authorization, except if the communication is a face-to-face communication or a promotional gift of small value. Certain communications, such as communications regarding treatment alternatives, are not considered "marketing" unless we have received payment from another person or organization in exchange for making the communication. If we have not received such payment, we may contact you for non-marketing purposes without your authorization.

Fundraising: We may contact you as part of a fundraising effort. You have the right to opt out of receiving these communications.

Other permitted and required uses and disclosures that may be made without your consent, authorization or opportunity to object

We may use or disclose your protected health information in the following situations without your consent or authorization. These situations include:

Business associates: There are some services provided at RHA through contacts with business associates. Examples include physician services in Radiology, certain laboratory tests and a copy service we use when making copies of your health records. When these services are contracted, we may disclose your health information to our business associate so that they can perform the job we have asked them to do and bill you or your third-party payer for services rendered. So that your health information is protected, however, we require the business associate to appropriately safeguard your information.

Research: We may disclose information to researchers when their research has been approved by an institutional review board that has reviewed the research proposal and established protocol to ensure the privacy of your health information.

Funeral directors/coroners: We may disclose health information to the funeral directors/coroners consistent with applicable law to carry out their duties.

Organ procurement organizations: Consistent with applicable law, we may disclose health information to organ procurement organizations or other entities engaged in the procurement, banking or transplantation of organs for the purpose of tissue donation and transplant.

Food and drug administration (FDA): We may disclose to the FDA health information relative to adverse events with respect to food, supplements, product and product defects, or post-marketing surveillance information to enable product recalls, repairs or replacement.

Workers' compensation: We may disclose health information to the extent authorized by and to the extent necessary to comply with laws relating to workers' compensation or other similar programs established by law.

Public health: As required by law, we may disclose your health information to public health or legal authorities charged with preventing or controlling disease, injury or disability.

Correctional institution: Should you be an inmate of a correctional institution, we may disclose to the institution or agents thereof, health information necessary for your health, and the health and safety of other individuals.

Law enforcement: We may disclose health information for law enforcement purposes as required by law, or in response to a valid subpoena.

Health oversight: Federal law makes provision of your health information to be released to an appropriate health oversight agency, public health authority or attorney, provided that a workforce member or business associate believes in good faith that we have engaged in unlawful conduct or have otherwise violated professional or clinical standards and are potentially endangering one or more patients, workers or the public.

Effective Date: September 23, 2013